CA2399592C - Method and platform for evaluating speech quality in telephone communications - Google PatentsMethod and platform for evaluating speech quality in telephone communications Download PDF
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- CA2399592C CA2399592C CA 2399592 CA2399592A CA2399592C CA 2399592 C CA2399592 C CA 2399592C CA 2399592 CA2399592 CA 2399592 CA 2399592 A CA2399592 A CA 2399592A CA 2399592 C CA2399592 C CA 2399592C
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- 238000000691 measurement method Methods 0 claims abstract description 22
- 238000000034 methods Methods 0 claims description 10
- 238000005259 measurements Methods 0 claims description 8
- 206010039911 Seizures Diseases 0 description 2
- 230000002441 reversible Effects 0 description 1
- 230000002123 temporal effects Effects 0 description 1
- H04—ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
- H04M—TELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
- H04M3/00—Automatic or semi-automatic exchanges
- H04M3/22—Supervisory, monitoring, management, i.e. operation, administration, maintenance or testing arrangements
- H04M3/2236—Quality of speech transmission monitoring
- G10—MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; ACOUSTICS
- G10L—SPEECH ANALYSIS OR SYNTHESIS; SPEECH RECOGNITION; SPEECH OR VOICE PROCESSING; SPEECH OR AUDIO CODING OR DECODING
- G10L25/00—Speech or voice analysis techniques not restricted to a single one of groups G10L15/00-G10L21/00
- G10L25/48—Speech or voice analysis techniques not restricted to a single one of groups G10L15/00-G10L21/00 specially adapted for particular use
- G10L25/69—Speech or voice analysis techniques not restricted to a single one of groups G10L15/00-G10L21/00 specially adapted for particular use for evaluating synthetic or decoded voice signals
METHOD AND PLATFORM FOR QUALITY ASSESSMENT
VOICE OF TELEPHONE COMMUNICATIONS
The present invention relates to a measurement method and a platform of data collection relating to the quality of voice communications transmitted by a telecommunications network.
The invention finds a very advantageous application in that it allows to improve the reliability of the subjective assessment of the voice quality of telephone communications supported by mobile networks. This Evaluation Subjective often leads to judging that the voice quality of communications telephone numbers supported by mobile networks is lower than the quality voice of telephone communications supported by fixed networks. The quality voice telephone communications is an evolving element. On the one hand, voice quality mobile communications is expected to evolve in the coming years for reach the level of voice quality currently offered by fixed networks. Else part, the voice transport using packet switching techniques, in particular particular by so-called IP techniques, may result in degradation of voice quality of fixed networks. This degradation could occur in particular during the large scale deployment phase of this type of mode of transfer. This evolving nature of the voice quality of communications requires methods evaluation of this voice quality. This assessment must be reliable for that means defined on the basis of this assessment, in particular the correction voice signals such as echo cancellers are best adapted.
Currently, voice quality assessment methods are of two types.
A first type includes objective measurement methods. These methods use test signals that reproduce near-speech signals human.
The quality assessment is carried out by an analysis of the characteristics physical signals received after transmission by a telecommunications network.
This analysis may be temporal, frequency or it may relate to the power of received signals. A disadvantage of these methods is the use of signals synthetic.
A second type groups subjective methods of measurement. Among these methods, a first category of methods consists in having the quality of signals by passive experimenters who listen to the signals received. This listening is called formal. A second category of methods uses experimenters
2 assets. These active experimenters establish a conversation during real communications and provide their perspective on the perception they have level signal quality during their conversation. Although subjective, these methods are particularly useful in the field of speech signals because the ear is a good instrument for measuring these signals.
However, to get a voice quality rating close to the value estimated true of this vocal quality, subjective measurement methods require a large number of experimenters. Indeed, when this number is little important, the accuracy of the assessment becomes highly dependent on the quality of rating of each experimenter, as well as environmental conditions of the test.
Also, the technical problem to be solved by the object of the present invention is to propose a method of subjective measurement, consisting of establishing a plan of test determining nominal experimental conditions and nominal levels of quality for the conduct of tests and to collect, during these tests, data relating to the quality of voice communications transmitted over a network of telecommunications, which makes it possible to carry out evaluation tests with a number limited number of experimenters while making the data more reliable.
A solution to the technical problem posed consists, according to the present invention, in that said subjective measurement method comprises the steps that consist of:
to establish a first connection, respectively a second connection, between a first experimenter, respectively a second experimenter, and a platform, - to abut the first connection with the second connection by means of the platform to establish communication between the two experimenters and allow them to converse, the platform being cut in the communication to acquire data on communication, - to collect the point of view of the experimenters on the perception that they have the level of quality found during their conversation, - to be evaluated by the platform, the coherence on the one hand between the data collected and, on the other hand, between nominal experimental conditions and the nominal quality level associated with the current test, - to determine the progress of the current test according to the test plan and of result of the evaluation.
The invention furthermore relates to a data collection platform for implementing the method which comprises:
3 - a calculation means on which is installed a management software of the platform, - means of access to the telecommunications network in connection with the medium calculation and comprising:
at least one interface to the telecommunications network, a direct interface to a signal processing means, signal processing means in connection with the calculation means and comprising:
a direct interface to the access means to the telecommunications network, a software module for measuring voice parameters. The means of calculation and the way signal processing can be grouped together in the same medium equipped with a computation unit powerful enough to simultaneously management platform and signal processing operations.
Thus, the method according to the invention, which relates to the subjective measurement of the quality of voice communications, allows for the collection of data relating to the quality of voice communications. To collect this data, the process establishes a communication between two experimenters by abutting by means of the platform two connections, each connection establishing a telephone link between a experimenter and the platform. The data collected includes data on the communication established between the two experimenters and data on the common conditions of experimentation. The nominal conditions are the terms determined by the test plan of which each experimenter and the platform have knowledge. Current conditions are the conditions under which place actually test. The platform assesses the consistency between the conditions nominal and current conditions of experimentation and, from the point of view of experimenters on the perception that they have the level of quality found during their conversation and the nominal level of quality associated with the current test. If this Evaluation gives an indication of inconsistency, the process may change the course of the plan test.
The subjective measurement method according to the invention solves the problem posed. Indeed, the information entered is compared with the conditions ratings of the test and the method evaluates the consistency of the result of the comparison. This comparison taking place simultaneously with the progress of the test, it allows the platform to re-formulate a question for validation by an experimenter.
So, if an inconsistency is detected, the corresponding information collected are
4 confirmed or invalidated by an experimenter. Therefore, the increase of the reliability of data comes into play as soon as they are captured by an experimenter and she is not only related to the number of experimenters.
The method according to the invention can take place according to several modes special of realization.
According to a first mode, the establishment of the first connection is done on the initiative of the first experimenter who dials an assigned call number to the platform. Thus, the constraints of implementing the method and the platform are more flexible than those known techniques.
In a second mode, the establishment of the second connection is done at the initiative of the platform that invites the first experimenter to compose a call number assigned to the second experimenter. Thus, the platform keep it mastery of the establishment of the second connection.
According to a third mode, the method also determines instructions execution of tests based on a correspondence table between different possible answers to a question asked by the platform and the keys of a keyboard telephone. Thus, this allows for a precise framework that limits the responses possible and, consequently, limit the errors of seizures.
According to a fourth mode, the method also determines instructions execution of tests based on a correspondence table between different possible answers to a question asked by the platform and keywords to pronounce by an experimenter. This mode facilitates the implementation of the process with mobile terminals. It is indeed difficult to select a key a terminal mobile while having the ear against the earpiece.
According to a fifth mode, the platform adds connections via through external equipment to be evaluated. According to a first variant at this among the data constituting the communication, the data in from each of the experimenters are modified by the determined equipment. according to a second variant in this mode, among the data constituting the communication, only data from one of the experimenters are modified by equipment determined. This mode advantageously makes it possible to analyze the impact of a piece of equipment external on a communication. In particular, when this external equipment is a echo cancellation device. The data includes in particular the signals from word.
According to a sixth mode, the acquisitions of the conditions of experimentation current routines include experimenter responses to questions from the platform concerning operating conditions, parameter measurements voice and, measurements of environmental parameters made in a non intrusively
5 by the platform. Thus, the method can perform a comparison with information from different sources and consolidate the analysis of the consistency.
According to a seventh mode, the platform terminates communication in removing the butt of the two connections. According to a variant of this mode, after having put fm to communication, the platform maintains each of the two connections for a specified period of time to capture answers from each experimenter to questions asked by the platform. Thus, the platform to one control of the communication time and manages independently each of the connections with each of the experimenters.
According to an eighth mode, the method further comprises the step of:
- to determine a list of experimenters authorized to call the platform in giving them an authentication number. This list allows to authenticate authorized persons.
In a ninth mode, the method further comprises the step of:
- to control, by the platform, the authorization given to the experimenter to call the platform, checking the authentication number provided by the experimenter following a request from the platform. This verification allows filter fraudulent use of the platform by people who are not authorized.
According to a tenth mode, the method further comprises the step of:
to manage a database of authentication numbers having a period of validity for a given test. According to an alternative to this mode, the method furthermore comprises step consisting :
- after a series of tests, to set the period of validity of the numbers authentication of both experimenters. Thus, the authorization of access to the platform is limited in time. The authorized person at a time t, ballast more after a given period. This advantageously avoids any fraudulent use that this person could make, past the duration given.
According to an eleventh mode, the method consists, after a test, to repeat in sequence a number of times determined the steps that consist of:
- to communicate to the experimenters information about the next test,
6 - to cut the connections with the experimenters, to sequence the steps of said subjective measurement method according to one of the modes for which the current test is different from each test already unfolded by the couple formed by the two experimenters. According to a first variant in this mode, the order between the different tests is predetermined. according to a second variant in this mode, the method consists of unrolling in parallel, with of the couples of different experimenters, a method according to this eleventh mode. And, each pair of experimenters runs the tests in a predetermined order of to minimize the statistical bias on the experimenters' responses.
So, according to the eleventh mode, the method makes it possible to carry out a series of n tests which are determined by the test plan. To minimize the statistical bias, the number of pairs of experimenters is chosen equal to n according to the principle of "square Greco Latin".
According to a particular embodiment, a platform according to the invention is such as:
the calculating means is a personal computer equipped with an internal bus, - the means of access to the telecommunications network is an access card equipped:
an interface to the internal bus of the personal computer, - at least one digital type interface to the network of telecommunications a direct interface to a signal processing means, - software for access to the telecommunications network, the signal processing means is a card in connection with the computer at means of the internal bus.
Other characteristics and advantages of the invention will appear during the following description made with reference to annexed figures given as examples not limiting.
Figure 1 is a flowchart of a method according to the invention.
Figure 2 is a diagram of a platform according to the invention.
FIG. 3 is a diagram illustrating an implementation of a platform and of a method according to the invention.
The process according to the invention is carried out according to several stages described above.
after and illustrated in Figure 1.
7 Prior to the progress of the steps, the method establishes a test plan determining nominal experimental conditions and nominal levels of quality for the progress of the various tests.
In a first step 1, the method consists in establishing a first connection, respectively a second connection, between a first experimenter, respectively a second experimenter, and a platform. Each experimenter having at his disposal a telephone terminal.
In a second step 2, the method consists of butting the first connection with the second connection through the platform to establish a communication between the two experimenters, the platform being cut in the communication to acquire data on communication.
In a third step 3, the method consists in collecting the point of view of the experimenters on the perception that they have the level of quality found during their conversation.
In a fourth step 4, the method consists in evaluating, by the platform, the coherence on the one hand between the data collected and on the other hand between terms experimental ratings and the nominal quality level associated with the test current.
For example, when a test involves a mobile phone and that experimenter who holds it must be in a quiet street, the nominal level of quality is the one attributed to a calm atmosphere.
In a fifth step 5, the method consists in determining the unfolding test based on the test plan and the result of the assessment.
A particular embodiment of a platform according to the invention is described in look at figure 2.
The platform comprises a calculation means 10, a means 11 for accessing the telecommunications network, in connection with the means of calculation and, a means of 12 of signal processing in connection with the calculation means if these two means are not confused.
The calculating means typically consists of a personal computer equipped with of an internal bus 13 and on which is installed a software 14 for managing the platform.
The means of calculation can be an equivalent means having resources of calculation, memory, external and internal interfaces such as a server.
The means 11 of access to the telecommunications network comprises:
at least one interface 15 to the network, a module 16 software for managing incoming and outgoing calls,
8 a module 17 for managing the DTMF codes transmitted by a terminal or a voice recognition module for keywords issued by experimenters, a direct interface with the signal processing means.
The network access means 11 typically consists of an electronic card further comprising:
an interface 19 to the internal bus of the personal computer.
The network interface 15 of the access means is typically of type number, for example of the ISDN type (abbreviation of the terms Digital Network to Service integration) or broadband type. Such an interface has for advantage of no, or little, introduce degradations on the signals. Therefore, the influence of this interface can be neglected. The electronic network access card 11 of telecommunications is connected to the personal computer 10 by means of the bus 13 internal.
The signal processing means 12 is typically a card which comprises:
a direct interface 20 by means of access to the network, a software module 21 for measuring the voice parameters.
The signal processing board is equipped with a processor and memories to operate the signal processing algorithms. In a bet particular implementation the processor is a DSP, abbreviation of the terms Digital Signal Processor or a RISC processor.
A particular implementation of the measurement method and the platform of collection is described with reference to Figure 3.
A first experimenter dials the number assigned to the platform. The method establishes a first connection between this first experimenter and the platform as soon as the platform responds. To avoid all misuse of the platform, in particular use by the experimenter for private purposes, an authentication method 32, associate optionally to an identification method, is implemented. According to this implementation the platform asks the experimenter to provide a number authentication, and possibly his name for identification. This number authentication is sent to the experimenter, for example by post and, he can have a limited validity period fixed by the platform.
After authentication of the experimenter, the platform invites the experimenter dialed the number of the second experimenter. The platform
9 establishes 33, from this number, a second connection with the second experimenter. Thus, the platform maintains two connections, a first connection with the first experimenter and a second connection with the second experimenter.
According to one variant, the platform can establish more than two connections. according to a particular test plan, it may be necessary to establish a communication with more than two experimenters, for example three experimenters. In these conditions, the platform establishes as many connections as experimenters in front of evaluate the same communication.
During the maintenance of a connection, the platform runs a phase preliminary test. During this phase, the platform issues 34, 35 posts sound for each of the experimenters. Each experimenter answer 34, 35, either by selecting a key on the keyboard or by pronouncing a word key or several keywords. The ability to answer by keywords is given by a particular embodiment of the platform which includes a device for speech Recognition. During this phase, the platform defines the terms experiments and invites each experimenter to confirm his situation by report to These conditions. The platform can return for each condition experimental to a determined passage of the paper version of the test execution instructions provided to prior to each experimenter. To limit the problems of seizures of answers confirmation, or denial, can be associated with a special touch of the keyboard.
According to an example of implementation, the confirmation is done by selecting the key * and denial by selecting the # key on the keyboard. During the phase preliminary, the platform analyzes the responses given by each experimenter.
This analysis can detect input errors, access attempts by unauthorized persons and unsuitable situations with unfolding plan test. In the case of detection of input errors, the platform can reiterate question and invite the experimenter to re-enter an answer. In case errors reiterated input or invalid authentication number, the platform can break 36, 37, 38 connections and terminate the test.
During this preliminary phase, the platform can record 39, 40 of environmental information. This information is entered by the experimenters or this information results from measurements made by the platform in the absence of a speech signal. This information relates for example at the level of a radio signal, in the case of a use of a mobile terminal, at the noise and to its variations. Thus, in the absence of a speech signal, the platform collects the fund sound picked up by the terminal and performs noise level measurements for evaluate the real environmental conditions. In the event that these conditions differ from what is expected for the test under consideration, the experimenter is informed by a sound message 5 then is invited to either rectify the situation (in case of errors on the test conditions), to confirm them anyway. Such a case occurs for example when the experimenter is equipped with a mobile ternlinal, that he must place himself in a street noisy and that the actual noise level is significantly below the level nominal expected. In this case, the test may be continued and the subsequent analysis of news
10 entries will take into account the actual level of recorded noise. So complementary, the platform can perform weakening and of echo delay by analyzing the possible echo of his own messages sent or the echo of voice signals from the experimenters.
At the end of the preliminary phase, the platform adds 41 the two connections to establish a communication between the experimenters. This abutment occurs following two modes depending on the purpose of the test. When the test is relates to a assessment of all elements of the telecommunications used to establish communication between the experimenters, the mode is said transparent. When the test relates to an assessment that relates basically on an external device connected to the platform, the mode is said no transparent.
During the phase where communication is established, the conversation 42 between experimenters is under the control of the platform. This control allows particular to limit the duration of test conversations. During this phase, the platform measures 43, 44 voice parameters, such as the signal level of say, the echo level, echo delay, signal saturation occurrence, ...
as well as sound environment settings. These measurements are made without disturbing the communication, for example according to a technique known under the acronyms INMD, abbreviation of English terms In service Non intrusive Measurement Device.
The measurements are stored by the platform.
At the end of this phase, the maximum duration of which is controlled by the platform, the platform cuts the communication by interrupting the connections while maintaining each of these connections. During the phase next 46, 47, the platform issues questions to each experimenter and, invite them to answer it by selecting a key on the keyboard or by the emission of one, or more, keyword. The platform can perform an analysis of the coherence
11 answers from each experimenter and, from the experimenters' responses between them.
Always to minimize input errors, the platform can perform a detection of invalid responses. The detection may consist of a comparison with a range of expected answers, a re-wording of the given answer and an invitation to confirm or deny. After confirmation, or reversal, last question the sequence of the current test is over. The platform can either indicate the end of the evaluation if there is no other test to follow, either state the experimental conditions of the next test and invite the experimenters to call the platform later when they have placed themselves in the conditions expected.
After issuing this last message, the platform releases 48 connections and thus marks the end of the current test. Loose connections sets off the recording of all the information collected in a database of data integrated into the platform.
- to establish (1) a first connection, respectively a second connection, between a first experimenter, respectively a second experimenter, and a platform;
- to abut (2) the first connection with the second connection to the means of the platform to establish a communication between the first and the second experimenters and allow them to converse, the platform being cut in the communication for acquiring data on communication;
- to collect (3) a point of view of the experimenters on a perception they have a level of quality seen during their conversation;
- to be evaluated (4) by the platform, a coherence on the one hand between collected data and, on the other hand, between the nominal conditions experimentation and nominal quality level associated with a current test;
to determine (5) the progress of the current test according to the plane of test and a result of the evaluation.
- to communicate to experimenters information about a test next;
- to cut the connections with the experimenters;
to sequence the steps of said subjective measurement method according to one of any of claims 1 to 15, steps for which the current test is different from each test already carried out by a couple formed by the two experimenters.
- to establish (1) an additional connection between each experimenter additional and platform; and - to abut (2) each connection between them by means of the platform to establish communication between all experimenters and their to permit, to allow (to conversing, the platform being cut off in communication to acquire of the communication data.
a calculation means (10) on which management software (14) is installed the platform;
means (11) for accessing a telecommunications network in connection with said calculating means (10) and comprising:
at least one interface (15) to the telecommunications network; and an interface (18) direct to a signal processing means; and signal processing means (12) in connection with said means (10) calculation and comprising:
an interface (20) direct to the access means to the network of telecommunications;
a software module (21) for measuring the voice parameters.
said calculating means (10) is a personal computer equipped with a bus internal;
said means (11) for accessing the telecommunications network is a card equipped access:
an interface (19) to the internal bus of the personal computer;
at least one interface (15) of digital type to the network of telecommunications;
an interface (18) direct to a signal processing means;
and a module (16) for managing incoming calls and outgoing; and said signal processing means (12) is a card equipped with a processor and memory for execution of processing algorithms of the signal, in connection to the personal computer using the internal bus.
Priority Applications (3)
|Application Number||Priority Date||Filing Date||Title|
|FR0017137A FR2818852B1 (en)||2000-12-26||2000-12-26||Method and platform for voice quality assessment of telephone communications|
|PCT/FR2001/004028 WO2002052820A1 (en)||2000-12-26||2001-12-18||Method and platform for evaluating speech quality in telephone communications|
|Publication Number||Publication Date|
|CA2399592A1 CA2399592A1 (en)||2002-07-04|
|CA2399592C true CA2399592C (en)||2007-09-04|
Family Applications (1)
|Application Number||Title||Priority Date||Filing Date|
|CA 2399592 Expired - Fee Related CA2399592C (en)||2000-12-26||2001-12-18||Method and platform for evaluating speech quality in telephone communications|
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|CA (1)||CA2399592C (en)|
|DE (1)||DE60101257T2 (en)|
|FR (1)||FR2818852B1 (en)|
|WO (1)||WO2002052820A1 (en)|
Families Citing this family (14)
|Publication number||Priority date||Publication date||Assignee||Title|
|GB2388745A (en) *||2002-04-30||2003-11-19||Hewlett Packard Co||Mobile communication system with service quality feedback|
|FR2844954B1 (en) *||2002-09-23||2004-11-19||Radiotelephone Sfr||Method for dimensioning the radio interface for gprs traffic and gprs mixed traffic + gsm voice|
|US7664122B1 (en) *||2003-07-03||2010-02-16||At&T Corp.||Call tracking using voice quality measurement probe|
|US7873321B2 (en) *||2005-03-29||2011-01-18||Qualcomm Incorporated||Apparatus and methods for determining network access performance of a wireless device|
|US7831025B1 (en) *||2006-05-15||2010-11-09||At&T Intellectual Property Ii, L.P.||Method and system for administering subjective listening test to remote users|
|US7756484B2 (en) *||2006-07-14||2010-07-13||Metrico Wireless, Inc.||Monitoring voice quality in communication networks|
|US20090061843A1 (en) *||2007-08-28||2009-03-05||Topaltzas Dimitrios M||System and Method for Measuring the Speech Quality of Telephone Devices in the Presence of Noise|
|US20090111459A1 (en) *||2007-10-30||2009-04-30||Topaltzas Dimitrios M||System and Method for Determining End-to-End Speech Quality of Mobile Telephone Devices|
|US7957731B2 (en) *||2008-02-26||2011-06-07||Metrico Wireless, Inc.||System and method for determining mobile telephone voice quality in a live network|
|EP2194525A1 (en) *||2008-12-05||2010-06-09||Alcatel, Lucent||Conversational subjective quality test tool|
|JP5310290B2 (en) *||2009-06-17||2013-10-09||富士通株式会社||Program, communication system, portable terminal and communication method|
|US8949397B2 (en)||2009-10-14||2015-02-03||Blackberry Limited||Maintenance methods, devices and systems for mobile communications system|
|US8594278B2 (en) *||2010-11-23||2013-11-26||Ipc Systems, Inc.||Test system for voice communications systems|
|US8595015B2 (en) *||2011-08-08||2013-11-26||Verizon New Jersey Inc.||Audio communication assessment|
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|US5812653A (en) *||1995-12-26||1998-09-22||Northern Telecom Limited||Subscription and paired authorization code based access to a meet-me conferencing service|
|GB9604315D0 (en) *||1996-02-29||1996-05-01||British Telecomm||Training process|
|US5916302A (en) *||1996-12-06||1999-06-29||International Business Machines Corporation||Multimedia conferencing using parallel networks|
|US6389111B1 (en) *||1997-05-16||2002-05-14||British Telecommunications Public Limited Company||Measurement of signal quality|
|US6665271B1 (en) *||1998-03-17||2003-12-16||Transnexus, Llc||System for real-time prediction of quality for internet-based multimedia communications|
|US6275797B1 (en) *||1998-04-17||2001-08-14||Cisco Technology, Inc.||Method and apparatus for measuring voice path quality by means of speech recognition|
|US6985559B2 (en) *||1998-12-24||2006-01-10||Mci, Inc.||Method and apparatus for estimating quality in a telephonic voice connection|
|US6370120B1 (en) *||1998-12-24||2002-04-09||Mci Worldcom, Inc.||Method and system for evaluating the quality of packet-switched voice signals|
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|US7280487B2 (en) *||2001-05-14||2007-10-09||Level 3 Communications, Llc||Embedding sample voice files in voice over IP (VOIP) gateways for voice quality measurements|
- 2000-12-26 FR FR0017137A patent/FR2818852B1/en not_active Expired - Fee Related
- 2001-12-18 AT AT01989634T patent/AT254819T/en not_active IP Right Cessation
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- 2001-12-18 WO PCT/FR2001/004028 patent/WO2002052820A1/en not_active Application Discontinuation
- 2001-12-18 EP EP20010989634 patent/EP1247389B1/en active Active
- 2001-12-18 CA CA 2399592 patent/CA2399592C/en not_active Expired - Fee Related
- 2002-08-26 US US10/227,731 patent/US7206743B2/en active Active
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